St Petersburg

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Lavanda
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St Petersburg

Postby Lavanda » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:12 pm

Years ago I had a great holiday in St Petersburg with Intourist — the only way to go in those days, it seemed. I want to go again in May but flights seem limited. Accommodation is fine with plenty to chose from. Then there is the dreaded visa. It seems you can only apply for a visa AFTER you have your flights and accommodation, and then only 'official' accommodation by which I guess no tax-dodging airb&b nonsense which I wouldn't do anyway.

My questions are these:
How long does it take to get the visa?
Is it better to go with a travel agent in the light of also wanting to actually get in The Hermitage and go to the ballet, etc?

Thanks in advance.

TorreDelAguila
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby TorreDelAguila » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:30 pm

Been there too, via Thomson/Intourist, in around 1975.
Unbelievable winter holiday (Xmas-New Year): Flights to/from UK, 3 nights in St.Petersburg, 5-hour rail journey to Moscow, 4 nights there, full board and top hotels, entry to Hermitage, circus, Bolshoi, museums, Tretyakov, concerts...all free or for peanuts. Total cost for the week, including flights, £69pp. Extraordinary. Bonus was 1 Rouble = £1.

Went back to Moscow for two more winter breaks shortly afterwards, to explore further. A great time, providing you were careful and didn't do daft things. Not sure I'd want to visit Putin's Russia today, though.
Chris

ajtg1952
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby ajtg1952 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:39 pm

I used to travel a lot in Russia when I worked. I used to get my Visas in the Russian Embassy in Edinburgh. I usually went in person and normally left with the Visa. However, a problem on a contract meant I had to start going through London so it was done by post. The time varied from a week to nearly 2 months. Fortunately I had two passports in these days. Good luck. It's still a wonderful country!

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Wicksey
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby Wicksey » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:29 pm

Did a similar trip in 1984 to Torredelaguila's and loved it .... overnight train trips and troika rides in the snow ... long before the days of MacDonalds and designer shops .... went to GUM department store which was devoid of anything to buy .... fascinating though.

My visa was sorted out by Thomson who the holiday was booked through I think, but of course it was still behind the iron curtain in those days but I'm not sure even now how easy it is to travel independently there. It may be easier to book through a travel agent who can sort out your excursions as well.

katy
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby katy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:37 pm

The Visa is a bit complex now. No one can do it for you as they need biometric fingerprints so as in your case Lavanda a trip to Madrid. The application needs to be filled in electronically before so have all the numerous documents ready. I was missing something and I lost everything online whilst searching for it, like your bank when it logs you out. Many other countries do the same now. Worth the trouble once you get there.

It is cheap when you get there for hotels etc. We got one comparable to the Ritz for around a third of the price. You may be better on a tour to see ballet, opera. Prices are OTT if not a Russian citizen. If you do the river cruises they allow passengers 72 hours to embark without a visa.

Lavanda
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby Lavanda » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:25 pm

Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Katy. I did wonder about using an agent as they will prepare everything and get us tickets, etc. I already thought I would have to go to Madrid in person to get the visa but, depending on the wait for the visa the trip could be combined with a visit to a gallery so it's not all bad.

katy
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby katy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:28 pm

Lavanda that is a nice positive attitude, great idea. I think the cost could put some people off the trip though. Those in eg. Newcastle etc. Travelling to London, But , I am all for squeezing out an extra trip. Ha ha.

suzyq
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Re: St Petersburg

Postby suzyq » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:51 pm

My son and family visited st Petersburg between Xmas and new year. Flights and hotels good value but visa not an easy matter.They travelled to Edinburgh from newcastle and made necessary arrangements only to be told they needed a separate visa for my 9 year old granddaughter. The staff were quite efficient in a totally unfriendly manner. Anyway , they loved it, had great seats at the ballet, and found everything operated well. Main recommendation is not to be too ambitious with tourist objectives. There is a lot to see..


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